Special Olympics: Smith stars with two golds at games

August Landrebe competes in the 50m freestyle. Photo by Craig Baxter.
August Landrebe competes in the 50m freestyle. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Lawrence athlete Liam Smith was the star of the Special Olympics regional summer games in Dunedin at the weekend.

Smith was competing at the top end of the athletics competition and won two gold medals.

He relished the perfect conditions at the Caledonian Ground yesterday to win the 200m in 27.40sec and the long jump with a leap of 5.36m.

The other noted performance in the top echelon of the competition was the win by Dunedin's David White in the 100m in 13.53sec.

The best performance in the middle grade came from James Gaylard (Dunedin), who won three gold medals: 100m (18.31sec), 200m (36.88sec) and shot put (6.35m).

The best performance in the developing section came from Philip Thomson (Dunedin), who won gold medals in the 50m walk (16.30sec) and 100m walk (36.40sec).

Otago Yellow beat Otago Blue 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the final of the football competition.

The Yellow side also won the award for the team with the most skills.

The MVP awards for the competing teams were: Otago Blue (Thomas Cowie), Otago Yellow (Matt Just), Canterbury (Brent Campbell) and South Otago (Christie Jenkins).

The star of the equestrian events was Simon Scaife (Wanaka), who only started riding horses 18 months ago.

He has a relaxed approach and has a special rapport with the horses. This worked to his advantage when he won three gold medals, with his most impressive wins coming in the dressage and trail ride.

In the women's events, three Taieri riders scooped the medals.

Teana Warden won the gold medal in the dressage, Alysha Canning a silver in the trail and a bronze in the dressage, and Aliesha Bryant a bronze medal in the English equitation.

The regional games were used by officials as a practice run for the New Zealand Summer Games to be held in Dunedin next year.

Officials were tested by the conditions on Saturday when rain fell made conditions tricky for competitors in the outdoor events.

"The whole event went smoothly and without any hitches," Special Olympics Otago spokeswoman Jan Aitken said.

"We were pleased with the number of volunteers and coaches who helped out. They are all keen to be involved in the national games next year."